BACOLOD CITY – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct a thorough investigation on the killing of four family members at their residence in the remote village of Buenavista in Himamaylan City.
“Those guilty must be brought to justice as soon as possible. I urge our law enforcement authorities to lead an in-depth investigation into this horrible act,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
The victims, who sustained fatal gunshot wounds on Wednesday night, were identified as Rolly Fausto, 52, his wife Emilda, 49, and their sons Ben, 11, and Raben, 15.
Police recovered at least 53 bullet shells in the vicinity of their home in Sitio Kangkiling, about 20 kilometers from the city proper.
The elder Fausto, reportedly a military asset, had been facilitating the surrender of his relatives who are members of the New People’s Army, according to a local media report quoting the Philippine Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion.
“Such brutality, which threatens to destabilize (the) province and destroy the peace of (its) people, has no place in society,” Lacson said.
“The massacre of innocent civilians is an outrage to our morals, our values, and our commitment to peace and justice. On behalf of the people of Negros Occidental, I strongly condemn the massacre in Sitio Kangkiling.”
The governor urged Negrenses to unite in condemning such act of violence.
“Together, let us sustain and protect the gains of our collective efforts for a more peaceful and progressive province,” Lacson said.
In a separate statement, the Police Regional Office-Western Visayas (PRO-6), headed by Brig. Gen. Sidney Villaflor, said “initial reports indicate the incident is part of the communist-terrorist group’s efforts to undermine the gains of the government’s programs to end the local communist armed conflict.”
“We strongly condemn the senseless acts of violence and terrorism against innocent civilians. The PRO-6 vows to bring the terrorists to justice and will utilize all its resources to effectively neutralize any and all threats to the safety, security, and welfare of the people,” the statement read.
The PRO-6 also asked the people of Himamaylan City to cooperate in the conduct of the investigation.
“The quest for justice is always a shared responsibility between the police and the community,” it added.
Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, commander of the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, also said the military will “spare no effort” to pursue justice for the victims and their families.
“We will closely coordinate with the PNP to fast track the resolution of the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Edralin said in a statement. (PNA